COUNTLESS others have had their say but yesterday it was Scott Allan himself who dismissed talk of him leaving Hibernian, saying he expects to see out the new campaign with the Easter Road club.
Last season’s Championship Player of the Year, who has a year left on his contract, has been the focus of unrelenting transfer speculation, with Rangers expressing a strong interest, while champions Celtic are also reported to be considering a bid.
But, reporting back for the first day of pre-season training at the club’s East Mains complex, the 23-year-old, who is under contract until next summer, said he had not had his head turned by the constant rumours and intends to remain at Hibs.
Admitting his aim is to one day return to England, where he feels he has unfinished business after an unfulfilling move to West Bromwich Albion and loans spells at Birmingham City, MK Dons and Portsmouth, the midfielder said his immediate focus is on helping the Leith side back to the Scottish top flight.
“Nothing has changed for me. I’ve got a year left on my contract and I will be seeing that out,” he told STV. “For me until anything is concrete I’m a Hibs player for next season and I’m looking forward to working under the gaffer again.”
Hibs head coach Alan Stubbs has revealed that no formal overtures have been made and made it clear that he would rather hold on to the influential player and risk losing him for nothing in 12 months than sell him now, especially to a title rival. And while Celtic have been keeping tabs on the situation and Dundee United had a January transfer bid rejected, Rangers remain favourites to lodge a bid before the trasnfer window closes.
They were unsuccessful in the past and Stubbs has suggested that it would take a transfer fee in the region of £3 million for Hibs to consider a rethink but Rangers vice-chairman Paul Murray has made it known that he is a firm fan of the Scot.
“He’s obviously under contract with someone else so we can’t talk about him in too much detail,” he said in a newspaper interview, “but we should be seeking to identify players who can add value to our team and our squad and bring them in and add further value to them through what we do here. It’s like manufacturing where you take the raw material in, add value to it, and get a finished product.
“Scott Allan is an example of a player I personally think is a very good player, his profile is right as a young guy with a lot of potential, and he has played a lot of football and I think he’s a player a lot of clubs would like to sign. And obviously there have been opportunities to sign him in the past which have slipped past.”
Stubbs has said that the fact that other clubs are circling should be considered a compliment and Allan agreed. “It is just part of football and it means you are doing something right but as I said I’m just looking forward to getting started here again. It doesn’t unsettle me. Obviously you hear whispers here and there but I have been mainly focused on doing well for Hibs. For me, right now, it’s all about kicking on next season and doing better than I did last year.”